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Sunday Special » Kaleidoscope

Posted at: Jul 3, 2016, 12:45 AM; last updated: Jul 3, 2016, 5:41 PM (IST)

Haryana flies, mostly on paper

The state has not been able to fully exploit its three flying institutes in Hisar, Karnal and Pinjore. The Centre’s new aviation policy can change the scenario. Instead of being just flying institutes, these hugely commercially viable places can substantially add to the state’s revenue
Haryana flies, mostly on paper
An Institute of Civil Aviation at Pinjore Photo: Nitin Mittal

Haryana has no domestic or international airport. The three flying institutes in Hisar, Karnal and Pinjore are more of clubs. These largely unguarded institutes have no idea where the pilots that they churn out for a Rs 22-lakh fee for a four-year course would eventually be absorbed. The management in Karnal vaguely remembers that astronaut Kalpana Chawla was a regular visitor to the institute. 

The state government has been doing its paper work for years. Haryana Civil Aviation Minister Ram Bilas Sharma says Rs. 50 crore has been marked by the finance department for the year 2016-17 for the Hisar aerodrome. “The draft feasibility report submitted by the consultant is being examined,” he said.

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There are some good reasons why Haryana in its golden jubilee year should have, not one but two airports. First is the new aviation policy. It says airlines will charge only Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights for operating on “un-served routes.” Since Karnal and Hisar are such areas, it can be a win-win situation both for the airlines and travellers. Karnal is hardly 30km from the international pilgrimage centre Kurukshetra, and given the mess in the local transport, the airport can change the face of the state’s pilgrimage tourism. And Hisar, which has a cantonment and is a stone’s throw from the upcoming 2,800 MW nuclear power unit in Fatehabad, can have strategic and commercial advantage since the town is a major industrial hub.

First, what the government says: The 196-acre Hisar aerodrome is proposed to have additional 3,200 acres, for upgrading it to the international status. The state government has appointed M/s Frost & Sullivan India Private Limited, Chennai, as a consultant for development of the aerodrome. Similarly, for Karnal airport, 22 acres are required for expansion for which Rs 12 crore is needed. Sources say the government has marked Rs. 20 crore for its developing the airstrip.

Now, a look at the three institutes:

Awaiting licence

Hisar: Silence prevails at the Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation’s flying club. Training activities have been suspended for the last six months. The two aircraft — a 4-seater Cessna 172 and 2-seater Cessna 152 — have not taken off since January. While the 4-seater arrived in 2008, the two-seater is around 30 years old. Officials claim that both are well maintained and comply with flying norms.

HICA Executive director Capt DK Punia and chief flying instructor Capt Shailender Hooda say they are awaiting renewal of the approval of Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) licence from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The flying club has 15 seats for training the aspirants for the commercial pilot licence and private pilot licence. The club charges around Rs 22 lakh for completion of the course of commercial pilot licence which requires a flying experience of 200 hours for a student, said Capt Punia.

On their own

Karnal: The HICA has been imparting training in flying with fixed-wing aircraft since 1967 for private and commercial pilot licences. Besides, it holds a course for aircraft maintenance.

Despite officials’ claim that the institute has trained hundreds of pilots, there is no facility for campus placement. Students after getting a licence are on their own and try their luck in airlines, Coast Guard and in defence.

A high demand for pilots should have pushed the institute to increase its intake. Currently, it has 35 seats for students, but has only 13 who are getting training. 

“We have three aircraft and we plan to include two more,” says Capt. Mohit Mohan Sharma, Deputy Chief Flying Instructor, Karnal. “The tarmac is being extended from 3,000 feet to 4500 ft so that small aircraft could land easily,” he said. For a domestic airport, the tarmac should be of 7,000 feet.

Joy rides

Panchkula: If you dreamt of joy rides in an aircraft or parasailing, then HICA Pinjore is the place for you. The institute, which trains students to become pilots in commercial and private categories, opened its doors for general public in June. Two persons can enjoy aircraft ride for Rs 2,000 while one can go for parasailing for Rs 300.

“We have got good response from people,” says Capt DK Punia, executive director of all three institutes, including Karnal and Hisar, of HICA.

The Pinjore institute, set up in 1983, has 15 commercial pilot and five private pilot students. The institute has increased its intake of females. “We have six girls in the present course,” says Punia. It has asked the state government to buy it two more aircraft. 

(Inputs from Pradeep Sharma, Deepender Deswal , Parveen Arora and Sandeep Rana)

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